Thursday, November 5, 2015

Your Health Depends on Your Gut Bacteria. How's Yours?

It's hard to really fathom, but we have trillions of  microorganisms that coexist with us in our bodies- on our skin,  in our gut, vagina, and in our mouth and nose. Plus, one half of our stool weight is composed of bacteria. Together these microbes weigh about 3 or 4 pounds. 

We actually  have 10x more microorganisms in our body than we have human cells! This microbial community  has been coined "the microbiome." by scientists, and it is the latest new medical topic. 
Numerous large-scale studies including the Microbiome Project are currently in progress to determine how specific microbe populations relate to our health, especially our immune, brain and gut functioning. Even our body weight!

Microbiome researcher, Dr. Rob Knight of U.C. San Diego has concluded from his studies that "It is hard to find a disease that is not linked to the microbiome;" and Washington University scientists have discovered that having a smaller diversity of strains of microbes could result in obesity.
 Scientists studied obese mice and healthy lean mice, and found that:
  • Lean mice had a more diverse microbiome with more fat-burning microorganisms
  • Obese mice had  less diverse microbe populations with more fat-storing microorganism
  • Researchers even went further by extracting the microbes from the stool of obese mice and transferring the stool to the lean mice. This resulted in the lean mice gaining a substantial amount of weight over a two week period, despite the fact that they ate less.
    In another study published in the Journal of Science in 2013, researchers took gut bacteria from the stool of lean humans and transferred it to mice eating a poor carb-dense, low fiber diet, and amazingly these mice did not gain any weight!

    The upshot from these studies is that obese humans possess higher levels of fat loving- disease promoting bacteria; now termed firmicutes.

    Dysbiosis is the general term for an inflammatory microbiome made up of  sparse bacterial diversity, and/or an overgrowth of firmucutes, parasites or candida yeast. This type of microbiome  crowd out our beneficial bacteria and disrupt our hormones, metabolism, gut functioning, immunity, our genes; and predisposes us to disease.

    If we don’t possess a healthy population of beneficial bacteria, and therefore a healthy ratio of good bacteria (85%) to bad bacteria (15%) we may experience health difficulties.

    Aging also has an effect on bacterial populations where beneficial bacteria are replaced by E. coli and streptococci lactobacilli-  often leading to constipation. 
Conditions/Diseases Particularly Linked to A Disrupted  Microbiome

colon disorders/ cancer
mood disorders-depression/anxiety
periodontal disease
cardiovascular disease
auto immune disease, Parkinson's, c. fibrosis
chronic constipation/diarrhea
food sensitivities/allergies
nail/skin fungus
poor skin/eczema
vaginal yeast infection
chronic fatigue/insomnia
poor memory and focus/Alzheimer's
frequent bloating and gas
sugar/carb/bread/pasta cravings
alcohol cravings
Joint/muscle aches
R. arthritis
 leaky gut/
 athletes food/jock itch

Our standard Western diet and lifestyle contribute to creating an imbalanced microbiome as it starves our beneficial bacteria while encouraging an overgrowth of bad bacteria . 
The chief offender is a fiber deficient diet high in bad fats, large meat servings, carbs, sugars, and high fructose corn syrup- with low vegetable intake. Beneficial bacteria feed on fiber-rich foods, and if they are in short supply bacteria populations will go hungry and waste away.

Our birth environment and infant history also play a large role in bacterial populations- whether we were born vaginally or from C-section, and if or how long we were breast-fed. If we experienced a birth canal birth, and were breast fed, we will have received our mother’s friendly bacteria. 
Foods/Lifestyle Factors that Kill Good Bacteria & Feed Bad Bacteria

refined white carbs: bread/rice/pasta
processed foods
fried foods/French fries
trans fats/hydrogenated oils
vegetable oils: corn, soy  sunflower, safflower, peanut
antibiotics/antibiotics in meat                    hand sanitizing gels and soaps
low stomach acid
chronic stress
birth control pills
excess alcohol
chlorinated water
large meat servings
environmental chemicals/BPA plastics
low fiber in diet
insufficient vegetables
NSAIDS- Advil/Aleve
Roundup weed killer found in GMO foods (most processed foods)
poor stomach acids (acidity is necessary to kill pathogens- see previous post)
The bulk of our healthy bacteria reside in the small, and large intestine.  Over 500 different species thrive in our digestive tract. The most common bacteria are the Lactobacillus strain which mostly resides in our small intestines, and bifidobacteria which reside in our large intestine.
Bacteria have a myriad of supportive roles:
  • They are vital for proper digestion and absorption of foods. 
  • Colonic bacteria also synthesize B vitamins, and vitamin K2, and convert flavonoids, and lignans to their active forms.
  • They inhibit gut inflammation.
  • They help strengthen the immune system and support detoxification.
  • They prevent and reverse leaky gut syndrome by crowding out the bad bacteria, and candida yeast.
  • They help to prevent estrogen-dependent breast cancer by controlling the damaging enzyme known as glucoronidase, produced by bad bacteria. 
Fortunately it is fairly easy to reseed healthy bacteria into our body. We can do this by:
  • Eating a diverse mix of colorful and inulin-rich fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Choose orange, red, purple, yellow, green, and blue. Try new produce! Eat from the Rainbow!
  • Consuming "Live and Active" probiotic- rich fermented foods and drinks at least once a day.
Inulin-rich Prebiotics and Fermented Foods that Feed Our Microbiome.   
(Fill half your plate with veggies! Reduce carbs, sweets, and bad fats! Increase fiber slowly to avoid gas and bloating))


*Garlic, onions, leeks


*Dandelion greens




Lentils, chickpeas, black beans

“Live and Active” unsweetened plain  yogurt and kefir, beet kvaas, kambucha



Pickled foods in brine (not vinegar)

*Chickory root


*Raw asparagus

*Jerusalem artichoke


 Drink filtered water

* Very high inulin content
When trying to rebalance our microbiome we need to practice what is termed the 4 R's
  1. We need to Remove the offending foods, and disease promoting bacteria.
  2. We need to Replace with healthy foods and supplements- such as HCL and enzymes. (see above)
  3. We need to Re-inoculate with  probiotic rich foods and supplements.
  4. We need to Repair our gut lining. (More on this in an upcoming post.)

Remove the Disease Promoting Microbes with Anti-Microbials

  • I suggest the Designs For Health's GI Microb-X. It is a proven anti-microbial containing a blend of botanical extracts with a lengthy history of use for building a healthy gastrointestinal microbial balance.
  • Designs for Health's Prephage is also recommended. It contains benevolent viruses (bacteriophages) that exclusively infect bacteria and kill them.
  • Thorne Research's Formula SF722 is also a very powerful antimicrobial- especially used for Candida overgrowth.

                     Re-inoculate with Probiotic Supplementation

Taking daily  probiotic dietary supplements is a great way to jump-start your beneficial bacteria populations, and is one of the mainstays of healthy aging. 

Dr. Michael McCann of Georgetown University Medical Center also espoused probiotics. He declared, “Probiotics will be to medicine in the 21st century, as antibiotics, and microbiology were in the 20th century.”

You do however have to be careful when selecting probiotics- as many do not have viable living strains or can't make it past our harsh stomach acids.
  • The best probiotic brand that I have found is Probiotic Synergy spheres and the higher dosage  Probiotic Supreme by Designs for Health  These products are  designed to support the proliferation of beneficial bacteria throughout the small and large intestines in order to promote healthy GI and immune function. Probiotic Synergy spheres and Probiotic Supreme are formulated  with cutting edge Biotract technology that uses the most advanced patented delivery and shelf stability technology available to ensure maximum potency and viability. It is this tableting technology and shape that protects fragile probiotic organisms from harsh stomach acid and delivers the highest number of live organisms to the intestinal tract. The end result—higher potency, superior delivery, and minimal waste.. (DFH, 2015) Take one a day.
  • Designs For Health FloraMyces is a yeast strain called Saccharomyces Boulardii that is especially beneficial after anti-biotic use; and when suffering from chronic diarrhea, IBS, IBD, C. Difficile, leaky gut; and is also used for boosting SigA gut immunity.
  • Lab Testing for Dysbiosis and Candida is also recommended. Many physicians will not order these lab tests, If so, I recommend Direct Labs- an online direct access certified clinical lab that can be used without a doctor's referral. You can order these tests under my account code: R-SAN and receive negotiated discount prices by calling 800-908-0000.
The optimization of  our gut bacteria is the "New Frontier" in health. Enhancing the diversity of our microbiome with probiotic foods and inulin-rich prebiotics; (foods that feed good bacteria);with the addition of  probiotics and anti-microbial supplements (temporarily) is well worth the effort if we would like to experience major shifts in our health, and protect ourselves from age associated diseases.  

Wishing You Vibrant Health,

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is intended for informational purposes, and is not meant to substitute or conflict with the advice from your physician. It is also not meant for pregnant or nursing women. Do not use this information for diagnosis or treatment of any health problems. Please consult with your physician before attempting any practices in this blog.  Information in this blog is general and to the best of my knowledge is true and complete, and is offered with no guarantees on the part of the author. The author disclaims all liability in connection with the use of this blog.

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